Kathy Daley | Democrat
From a seat at Jeffersonville’s Brandenburg Bakery, Mayor Ed Justus reminisces about his years as village mayor and trustee. The mayor who runs Justus Tire & Alignment on Main Street along with his brother Rich will not seek reelection March 19.
Ed Justus to remove 'mayor' from title
By Kathy Daley
JEFFERSONVILLE March 12, 2013 For Mayor Ed Justus of Jeffersonville, the most extraordinary event of his tenure had to have been the Town Haul TV show filmed on the streets of the village in 2004.
But the happiest times were the many weddings over which the mayor presided.
And the worst occasions? Hands down: the devastating and too numerous floods.
“The flood of 2006 was one for the record books all of Main Street was under water,” recalled Justus.
At his own family-run business, Justus Tire & Alignment, “we had a foot-and-a-half to two feet of water” during that June 28, 2006 disaster.
“Floods are the worst because people’s lives are affected by it,” he said, noting how a small-town mayor can stay up all night worrying.
“It’s the floods that are the hardest to deal with because of the hardships they bring to people.”
Justus will step down from his flood-watching, gavel-pounding duties this month after serving the village as public servant since 1993, first as trustee and then, beginning in 2003, as mayor.
“I’ve been honored to represent the village,” he said during an interview at one of his favorite Jeff haunts, the Brandenburg Bakery on Main Street. “I’ll miss the people I’ve worked with on every level. But I wanted to give myself some free time.”
Like local government officials everywhere, Justus routinely fielded phone calls at home when someone rammed a car into a particularly offensive pothole or spotted a stray dog loping around the neighborhood.
More than anything, people seem to voice concerns about the village water, which is known to meander through ancient pipes that need replacement.
“The complaints are constant,” said Justus.
The mayor himself arrived in Jeffersonville back in the 1970s, a kid just out of Martin Van Buren High School in Floral Park, Queens. His parents and siblings liked camping in Callicoon, and they were all ensconced there when they decided to search for a summer house.
The family bought a place on Briscoe Road and then relocated permanently in 1976, moving full time into the house where the mayor’s parents continue to live.
“The country is beautiful here and it really grows on you,” Justus said. “Look at our seasons. I’m a little tired of winter, but the other three seasons can’t be beat.”
“Jeffersonville people are down home folks,” he added. “They care about the community and when someone is in need, they’re always willing to lend a hand look at the fire department and all they do.”
Jeff is also a great place to raise children, and he and his wife Fran did just that. Christopher, 29, and Diana, 23, both graduated from Sullivan West High School. She works for an educational non-profit in Boston; he is a quant a financial analyst who evaluates market conditions using math for a firm in New York City.
Looking ahead, Ed Justus wishes all the best to Village Deputy Mayor Bill Thony, who is running unopposed for mayor in the Tuesday, March 19 village election.
“There’s always projects to be done,” Justus said, “another road to do. Bill will also be facing our water infrastructure issue. Our source of water (mainly one deep artesian well) is excellent we are constantly treating and testing the water and we maintain flushings but our lines are old.”
“I have been fortunate to have worked with such dedicated board members,” Justus continued. “The mayor may run the meetings and put his two cents in, but in the end it’s a board decision and you’re just one of five votes. Very rarely has it been that we don’t have a unanimous decision.”
Colleague Thony, who has served as a trustee since 1995, agreed that the Village Board works well together.
“Ed was a good mayor and a good leader,” said Thony, “and I wish him a lot of luck. I hope to do the same great work as he did.”